This last weekend in October marks the end to the really busy fall time period. As an annual tradition since 1982, Halloween weekend is when the North Star Ski Club sends about 20-30 of its members up the North Shore to help the various resorts work on ski trails. The 800-member North Star Ski Touring Club is the largest ski touring club in the lower 48. Formed in 1967, the club sponsors a year-round schedule of activities including day, weekend, and week-long trips to many locations in North America and Europe. Their motto: We bike, canoe, kayak, hike, dance, socialize, develop and maintain trails. But our PASSION is CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING!
Our 400 km North Shore Ski Trail System is so expansive and so long that without the help of groups such as the North Star’s (NS), volunteers and non-profits, we would have a very hard time putting in the necessary hours needed to maintain a world-class trail system. Here’s a glimpse into how this weekend operates… In exchange for their time and effort, area resorts give the (NS) a free room for two nights with a late checkout granted Sunday. They receive free breakfast, trail lunch and a potluck dinner Saturday night. The potluck dinner is held at Cascade’s sister resort, Solbakken, just down the road. Everyone from the resorts and (NS) gathers together to reminisce about the days experiences out on the trails, enjoy a great meal and look forward to this season’s skinny skiing. On Sunday the group gets a free breakfast and lunch.
The work schedule starts at 9am on Saturday when resort heads lead the whole group out to problematic trail sections. Main objectives: 1.) Removing windfall and deadfall trees and branches. 2.) Cutting and snipping back creeping vegetation both high and low. Tools of the trade: Chainsaw, Loppers, Handsaw and Polesaw. There is a short break for our trail lunches and then back on the trail until 4:30pm when we return to the lodge. Potluck starts at 6:00pm. Sunday is a shorter day with work starting again at 9am and ending around 12:30 or 1pm. Just in time for the Vikings game! Leftovers from the potluck at Solbakken are Sunday’s lunch. The work is hard no doubt, but very gratifying indeed. You see the work come to fruition mid-winter when gliding along an expertly groomed trail that’s completely free of those pesky face slappers! Thank you North Stars for your continued support!
Cascade Lodge said goodbye to our last foreign students on Sunday. Mina was a very nice boy from Egypt who worked in housekeeping and at the restaurant in the kitchen. Johanna and Diana were two lovely girls from Colombia. They shared a room and worked in housekeeping and as servers at the restaurant. Both Mina and Johanna are pre-med and will be doctors in their countries in a few years. All were great kids to have at the resort and excellent workers right up until a few hours before they had to leave.
The leaves along the shoreline and hill sides are at their peak right now and we are completely surrounded in a sea of gold. The fall color season this year happened much later than normal by about two weeks. Many are saying the record warmth northern Minnesota experienced in September had something to with it. Typically by the time everyone comes up for MEA this weekend most of the color is gone, but folks will be delighted to find we still have a lot of great colors left on the trees and vegetation. Matt took this great photo of the Split Rock Lighthouse on his way back from Duluth the other day. Temperatures have dropped quite a bit in October here after our warm September. We even woke up to a couple inches of snow on 10/11. Hopefully things warm up a little soon because there is still good fishing to be had and golf to be played!